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Stage 3: Formal Institutional Review and Final Resolution

To be completed typically within 30 University working days of receipt

A complainant who is dissatisfied with the outcome of the Formal Departmental Investigation and Resolution Stage 2 of the Student Complaints Resolution Procedure may request a Stage 3 review within 10 University working days of the written outcome of the Stage 2 process being provided to them. A Stage 3 review may be requested when:

  • there is evidence of procedural irregularity or bias at Stage 2;
  • the Stage 2 outcome is considered unreasonable;
  • material evidence is available that was unavailable at Stage 2 and it is determined that it would not be appropriate for the relevant Department to re-open the case within Stage 2.

The student should complete a Stage 3 Formal Student Complaints Form including full details of the complaint and the outcomes from the Formal Departmental Resolution Stage 2, which is available at:

The complainant is advised to seek advice and assistance prior to completing the complaint form from at least one of the following: Wellbeing Support Services (including the Dean of Students' Office), the Students’ Union Advice and Welfare Centre, or their Personal Tutor or Supervisor. The Provost or their nominee will make a determination as to whether there are sufficient grounds for the complaint to be considered under Stage 3. This determination will be communicated in writing to the complainant. Should it be determined that there are sufficient grounds for the complaint to be considered at Stage 3, the Central Complaints Resolution Team will allocate the request to review to a senior member of staff outside of the student’s department not previously involved in the complaint. In, consultation with the student if deemed appropriate, the senior member of staff will consider:

  • Whether the complainant’s expectations exceed the scope of the review?
  • Were appropriate procedures followed?
  • Were the outcomes of the formal stage reasonable and proportionate?
  • Has relevant new evidence been submitted?
  • Is the submission of new evidence valid?
  • Would there be benefit from facilitated discussion?

Stage 3 complaints submitted for review via the Stage 3 online form will be acknowledged within 2 University working days. Where it is determined there are sufficient grounds to accept the complaint into Stage 3, the University will review the complaint and provide an outcome, in writing, typically no later than 30 University working days from the time that the complaint was submitted for Stage 3 Formal Institutional Review. A Panel approved by the Provost and Chaired by a Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Academic Vice-President, Deputy Pro-Vice-Chancellor or an authorised nominee of the Registrar may be constituted to determine the final outcome of the review should a resolution not be agreed with the complainant prior to this being necessary. In addition to the Chair, the Panel will typically include one individual from a Senate-approved Panel and one Students’ Union Sabbatical Officer. If a Students’ Union Sabbatical Officer is unavailable in the required timeframe or the student requests that a Sabbatical Officer is not present on the Panel, in addition to the Chair, the Panel may include two individuals drawn from a Senate-approved Panel, or one individual from a Senate approved Panel and a representative from the Dean of Students Office. No-one previously involved in the complaint or department under investigation will be a member of the Panel. The Panel will convene either in person or consider the case by correspondence to make its determination on the final outcome, and the complainant or their representative would not typically be in attendance.

Where there are clear and justifiable reasons for extending the timescale for considering a complaint in Stage 3, the senior member of staff responsible for the investigation will exercise judgement and set time limits on extending the review, notifying the student in writing. The student will be kept updated on the need for any extension and given a revised deadline for bringing the review at Stage 3 to a conclusion. If the complainant feels the outcome is being unreasonably delayed they can write to the Registrar setting out why they feel this is the case.

The outcome of the Formal Institutional Review and Final Resolution Stage 3 will be communicated to the student in writing. In line with OIA guidelines, a Completion of Procedures Letter will be issued within 28 days as appropriate. The outcome will include a clear explanation of the determinations made on the key elements within the complaint under review. The University will give an explanation of how any outcomes from the review are to be implemented. The Completion of Procedures Letter issued will advise the student of the right to submit a complaint to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA) and the time limit for submission.

Once a decision has been issued a record will be kept by the University detailing the outcome and the complaint will then be closed subject to further external escalation.

Go to Section 9 of the Procedure